Making Christmas Memories with Great Christmas Traditions
Christmas is stuffed full of memories. Hopefully they’re great ones—memories of family, good food and special gifts. They might be funny ones—Dad installing Christmas lights or Aunt June bringing her dreaded jello salad—but there’s no denying that Christmas features looking back at past Christmases and remembering the foibles and cherished memories alike. We remember the people who are present, the people we have lost along the way, and the traditions we hold dear. Christmas memories are important; continuing the memories, and making new ones, is what makes Christmas a special holiday.
Many times, the most memorable Christmas moments don’t happen on purpose. In fact, at the time Christmas mishaps feel like a Christmas disaster—a missed flight, a turkey catches fire, frozen pipes, or stitches on Christmas Eve—but these are the events that a year or two later are remembered with an eye roll and a chuckle, and over time it’s these tales that create family lore. But sometimes Christmas traditions are on purpose, and they also create meaning and memories around the holiday. If you’re looking for new Christmas traditions to create warm Christmas memories, we have a few to offer.
Obviously we’re starting with the Christmas tree as a great Christmas tradition that creates fantastic Christmas memories. When you create the most beautiful glass-blown ornaments, the tree becomes priority #1. There are many ways to procure a Christmas tree, and whichever method you choose, memories and traditions are established. You might live in a location with local tree farms. Cutting down your own Christmas tree is a picture-perfect opportunity. Many times the farmer behind the tree farm will have extra activities—cookies, Santa, or a hay or sleigh ride—to go with the experience. Tree farms can also be pricey. Cutting your own, after getting a tree-cutting permit from your local forestry department provides a less expensive option. Cutting from the forest comes with its own sense of adventure. Without the tags indicating the tree's height, a wild tree, fresh from the forest, has the potential to look a lot different once inside. What looked perfect in the wild might surprise with some gaping holes, sparse branches or wide girth. A tree with personality creates memories that last forever. A more tame Christmas tree memory is made by picking out a tree from a lot or home-improvement store. They’ve done the hard work for you, and you just need to come knowing the height you need. Many people have opted for an artificial Christmas tree. Though convenient and allergen-free, artificial trees come with their own set of great Christmas memories.
Another common Christmas tradition that creates memorable Christmas moments is gift giving. Stemming from long-ago tradition, giving gifts is a current Christmas standard. Picking out the perfect gift is a big responsibility, and it can also be a creative endeavor. There are different methods and traditions surrounding gift giving. Some larger families pick names, and only exchange gifts with the names they chose. Other families give gifts to each member, or forgo gifts altogether, and take a trip or participate in a shared activity. Some people share a meal and exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, whereas others celebrate, and exchange gifts, on Christmas Day.
Christmas stockings are a Christmas tradition that create warm Christmas memories. Traditionally, stockings are filled with smaller gifts, trinkets, and treats. Stockings are “hung by the chimney with care,” and Santa fills them on Christmas Eve to be enjoyed and celebrated by happy kids (and adults!) on Christmas morning.
Another Christmas memory maker are annual Santa photos. Dressed up babies, screaming toddlers, and indifferent tweens solidify and commemorate each year with hard evidence. Comparing the photos year to year, and reliving the joy or terror of the moments creates an enjoyable Christmas memory after the fact.
The mail is good in December. Sending and receiving Christmas cards is a favorite Christmas tradition. There’s always a story behind each photo, and keeping in touch with friends and relatives with a photo card connects people from a distance. Get them out early to ensure Christmas delivery!
Whatever Christmas traditions you celebrate—whether they’re traditional or not—celebrate them with gusto. Take photos and videos of the highs and lows of these traditions, and enjoy the comparison and retelling of the stories from year to year.